Alumnus George Johanson Generously Creates New Scholarship

August 13, 2019

George Johanson, Christopher Camcam, and Olivia Harwood in front of a Johanson painting

We are so happy to announce that alumnus and longtime faculty member George Johanson has made a generous gift to PNCA to establish the Phyllis and George Johanson Endowed Scholarship. Each year, two students in the Painting program will be selected for this scholarship.

We often talk about the cultural impacts of PNCA, the ways that our alumni and faculty shape the cultural landscape of the region and beyond in significant ways. An important part of seeding future impact is found in the myriad ways that our alumni give back to today's students to support their future cultural contributions. Like Johanson, alumni teach, give gifts that support scholarships, they also offer mentorships, both official and unofficial, and provide other opportunities to emerging artists such as the Leland Ironworks Residency offered by alumnus Lee Kelly.

The Phyllis and George Johanson Endowed Scholarship helps make a PNCA education more affordable for more students. Johanson notes the importance of scholarships in his own educational experience at the Museum Art School (now Pacific Northwest College of Art).

I’m very happy to be able to establish two new scholarships in painting for the school. Years ago when I attended what was then the Museum Art School I was lucky enough to be the recipient of a couple of full tuition scholarships. This [scholarship] is my way of paying back some for the financial aid that meant so much to me back then. The art school gave me much more than a technical basis on which to build an art career. it also helped form my outlook on life in very fundamental ways. It feels good to play some part in helping future generations of artists get the schooling they need to begin to find their way.

The first two recipients of the scholarship are senior Christopher Camcam '19 and sophomore Olivia Harwood who did a studio visit with Johanson in June.

A painter, printmaker and ceramic tile artist, George Johanson studied at the Museum Art School in Portland as well as studying in New York and London. He went on to teach at the Museum Art School for 25 years until his retirement in 1980.

Johanson has had more than 60 solo exhibitions and his work is held in public and private collections including those of the Portland Art Museum, the Smithsonian National Collection, in Washington, D.C. and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He received the Oregon Governor's Arts Award in 1992.

In 2002 the Portland Art Museum presented an exhibition of his drawings titled Equivalents- Portraits of 80 Oregon Artists. He was given a 60 year retrospective of his work at the Hallie Ford Museum, Salem in 2007. In 2010 the Pacific Northwest College of Art presented a major selection of his paintings titled Seven Decades.

Johanson continues to work in his Portland studio. He is represented by Augen Gallery which held a retrospective of his works in 2018.